DJI Drones Revolutionize Mount Everest Logistics and Cleanup

Groundbreaking Drone Delivery Tests Completed on World's Highest Peak

In an unprecedented collaboration, DJI has successfully completed the world's first drone delivery trials on Mount Everest (Mount Qomolangma). The historic achievement, accomplished in April, showcases the remarkable capabilities of DJI's FlyCart 30, which can transport 33-pound payloads even in the extreme altitude and environmental conditions of Mount Everest.

YouTube video

During the trials, three oxygen bottles and 3.3 pounds of other supplies were flown from Everest Base Camp to Camp 1 (17,400-19,700 feet above sea level). On the return journey, trash was carried back down. The treacherous Khumbu Icefall, covered with ice blocks and prone to frequent avalanches, lies between these camps.

“The ability to safely transport equipment, supplies, and waste by drone has the potential to revolutionize Mount Everest mountaineering logistics, facilitate trash cleanup efforts, and improve safety for all involved,” said Christina Zhang, senior corporate strategy director at DJI.

Easing the Burden on Sherpas

Traditionally, local Sherpa guides have been responsible for transporting supplies and clearing trash on Everest, often making over 30 trips across the dangerous icefall each season.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, a mountain guide with Imagine Nepal, shared, “We need to spend 6-8 hours each day walking through this icefall. Last year, I lost three Sherpas. If we're not lucky, if our time is not right, we lose our life there.”

The DJI drone can carry 33 pounds of supplies between camps in just 12 minutes for a round trip, day or night, significantly reducing the risks faced by Sherpas.

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Tackling the Trash Problem

Each climber is estimated to leave behind 18 pounds of trash on Everest, and despite cleanup efforts, tonnes of waste remain on its slopes. DJI's FlyCart 30 can efficiently transport garbage and human waste down the mountain, reducing the number of trips Sherpas must make across the Khumbu Icefall.

The Future of High-Altitude Drone Delivery

Following the successful trials, the Nepalese government contracted a local drone service company to establish drone delivery operations on the southern slope of Everest starting May 22. The implementation of delivery drones in high-altitude regions promises to enhance safety, efficiency, and environmental conservation within the mountaineering industry.

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DJI's FlyCart 30, launched globally in January 2024, has been deployed in various challenging environments worldwide, from planting saplings on steep hillsides in to aiding mountain fire rescue efforts in and improving scientific research operations in Antarctica.

“From the end of April, our team embarked on a groundbreaking endeavor to help make cleanup efforts on Everest safer and more efficient. We are thrilled to share that our was up to the task.” – Christina Zhang, Senior Corporate Strategy Director at DJI

DroneXL's Take

The successful drone delivery trials conducted by DJI on Mount Everest mark a significant milestone in the application of for logistics and environmental conservation. By reducing the risks faced by Sherpas and facilitating more efficient trash cleanup, drones have the potential to revolutionize high-altitude mountaineering operations.

As drone technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more innovative applications in challenging environments, ultimately promoting safety, sustainability, and efficiency across various industries. DJI's FlyCart 30 has already demonstrated its versatility in diverse settings, from agriculture to scientific research, and its success on Mount Everest further underscores the immense potential of drones in solving complex problems.

Photo courtesy of DJI.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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